County council looks for £50m savings
Oxfordshire County Council has launched a public consultation on options for saving money. It has already saved or has firm plans to save nearly £300m since 2010 but believes it needs to find another £50m of savings over the next four years. “The government is rightly reducing public spending to tackle the national budget deficit, which means we have to make some difficult decisions about council services,” says council leader, Cllr Ian Hudspeth.
As well as receiving less money from government, the council faces rising demand for services – particularly for vulnerable adults and children at risk of abuse and neglect. Already about half its budget is spent on 2% of the population of Oxfordshire, and that proportion is set to rise to three-quarters of the total budget as a result of a growing aging population.
The council is consulting the public before taking the decisions and delivering a balanced budget on 16th February 2016. Talking Oxfordshire, the council’s budget consultation, will start on 20 October, when all the savings options will be published on the council’s website. It will close on 30 November.
There will be three public events with an independent chair alongside the leader and chief finance officer to provide residents with a chance to find out about the council’s budget position and have their say. Comments will be collated as part of the feedback process.
The events are 7-8.30pm and dates are:
· 27 October – County Hall
· 2 November – Banbury Town Hall
· 5 November – Regal Centre, Wallingford
People need to register in advance to attend the event so the council can manage numbers. To register for an event or take part in the consultation online, go to www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/talkingoxfordshire
Hard copies of the budget consultation documents will also be available in every library.